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People are afraid to return home, survivor tells FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-01-17

Elie Pierre is a survivor of the quake. In an interview with France 24's special correspondent in Port-au-Prince, Melissa Bell, Pierre gives his account of the first moments after the quake and the chaos that has reigned since.

Elie Pierre told France 24 special correspondent Melissa Bell in Port-au-Prince, "It was about 4:20pm when we started to feel the walls tremble. The tremor lasted less than ten seconds and everything collapsed. At that very moment, schoolchildren were in class! And everything crumbled around them. There must be hundreds of thousands of people under the rubble, and a good many of them are children."

"The problem is that no aid has come to us yet, because the country itself is crippled, and it cannot oversee the allocation of the aid. The planes may be getting to the airport, but beyond that, there is chaos in the streets."

Heat and rotting bodies

"The whole city is currently living outside. Even those who still have a house standing don't dare go back. After the earthquake, there were several aftershocks and with each new tremor, more damaged buildings can crumble to the ground. Even those who can, are simply afraid to return home.

"So everyone, the survivors and the wounded, are among cadavers in the streets. Everyone eats right where they are, goes to the toilet right on the street. You know, here it's 30° in the middle of winter, so you can imagine how hot it is right now, and the effects the heat might bring about, especially on the rotting corpses. There are tonnes and tonnes of rubbish piling up everywhere, it's simply indescribable, simply unbelievable. Those who are still able-bodied are waiting, but I don't know what for."

Date created : 2010-01-15

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